The Secret Diary of a Call (Centre) Girl
Ok so my job might not be as exciting as the TV show title it rips off but it’s worth a mention on this blog.
Yes it’s a secret that I’m blogging while I’m in work…but to be honest I don’t think it’s that big of a deal really. That’s where working attitudes differ between Australia and the UK.
I’m no Belle deJour but I have been working in a call centre for a financial company for 6 weeks now. It was tough getting back into the routine of working life…especially after a month of thai partying and travelling. When we landed in Brisbane, we were totally broke.. and desperate for work.
The job search began and we both had fears it’d be a repeat of our Saigon experience…except minus the motorbike drivers to chaffeur me round this time. We had reports not to expect anything until at least 2 weeks of recruitment agency stalking…something I had got very good at while I was in Vietnam.
Day 1 – We hit the library on the Monday and trailed the recruitment list we had got from Joanne and George…updating our CVs to make it sound like we’re admin professionals and hanging by the phone waiting for anyone to ring and offer us a job.
Day 3 – After getting into routine of going to the library to mooch the free internet services.. trawling seek.com.au and stalking recruitment agencies…Gareth happened to register online with Hays Recruitment that morning. Fast forward to lunchtime…we were eating our discount bargain box from the chinese in Queen St when G gets a call asking if he could come in to register for a job starting soon. An hour later I get a phone call from the same place asking me to come in. Desperate for people… we both got ourselves landed in a call centre for GE Money who provide finance for 10,000 retailers across Australia with jobs starting on the Monday.
Actual first day of work – The beginning of a three week training session. I love training in call centre jobs. The first day was ‘death by powerpoint’ as each speaker pointed out… (the usual call centre banter). This being my third call centre job …the first being Halifax..then play.com… I knew what stereotypes to expect.
The over-enthuastic trainee who loved to ask questions…the sarcastic trainer…the self promotion of how great a company you are working for…the usual stuff. We had the games..the sweets…the buns..and the extended breaks that you get in training..with a lot of time faffing about in the middle…it’s great. Being paid 24 dollars an hour to sit and take the piss occasionally looking at a few products etc is what it’s all about.
Gareth lasted longer than expected (one week) before jumping ship to a data entry job in Queensland Health, leaving me to hold the call centre fort. The time flew by doing flipchart presentations..and eating. Mainly eating…the damn aussie food lovers!!
Week 1 on the floor was pretty nervewracking… with 16 systems to have open at all time..it’s a bit of a handful.. but my ozzie call centre experience has been very different compared to any at home. Workplaces here adopt the same attitude as they do to lifestyle…pretty laidback. It’s quite refreshing not to be monitored on every website you log on to… being free to roam most sites (within reason) inbetween calls to keep your sanity.
Dresscode is ‘smart casual’ during the week (ie. most things go apart from denim) with casual dress on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. I hate having to be formally dressed for a call centre…especially when not customer facing so this suits me down to a tee (shirt)..Having a good selection of music over the office tannoy speaker system breaks down the monotony of the job as well…which is way more modern than any other place I’ve worked like this…and with good pay bonus like time and half…double time at weekends..it’s not as bad as the typical call centre job at home.
I’ve enjoyed working here the past few weeks…but with new opportunities on the horizon my experience is shortlived but tis definately a great way to meet people, have a bit of craic and make some really good money when backpacking around Australia.
Maybe I’ll look into the high class escorting scene for the last six months of the visa… see how that goes.